What You See Is What You Get. This is a journal blog, an explore-blog, a bit of this and that blog. Sharing where the mood takes me. Perhaps it will take you too.

MenoSundays; Life Lived Lovingly

When we embark upon any course of study or a new job or travel to new places, we require a level of faith. In ourselves, in the systems that support these things, and in the people that we will have to engage with. But first and foremost, the faith must lie with ourselves. If we never question, never doubt, never take any little side routes that open up... if we fail to explore... then that which we call faith is nothing more than rote learning. Blind acceptance. We may say that we are placing trust - but to do so unquestioningly is to dock ourselves of any potential for personal discovery.

How much more important this becomes when we enter the realms of spiritual need and philosophy.  Nothing is more rewarding than finding a path we desire to follow, but nothing is more damaging than doing so without testing the tenets.

Menoturals; Saturday Sounds

This week we have the Bell Miner - one of the sparkling sound gems of the Australian bush! Once heard, never forgotten. If you wish to read more about the bird, click here. There are other birds in the background, but concentrate on the clear, ringing voice of the bellbirds...

Menorrikkul; Listen Up

It has been a while since I updated you on some top listenings on the intermutts. Given my recent incapacity, podcasts have been a bit of a blessing. 

You may observe something of a theme to the list today; I cannot escape my deep and abiding interest in current affairs, history... and true crime. What is it with that??? I am not alone in appreciating the latter, so such podcasts are proliferating. I suppose murder/mystery novels have been equally popular for over a century now, so these might be considered an extension of that. (Hands up, fellow followers of Ruth Rendell, Colin Dexter, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Anne Cleves, LJ Ross........ and then all the Nordic Noir...)

Anyhoo, to what have I leant my ear of late?

I have previously pointed you to The Rest Is Politics (which, if you didn't explore, I continue to recommend for deeper exposition of British and Foreign Affairs with two men who know how to disagree agreeably). Now Alistair and Rory have a sister podcast which I am sure many of you will appreciate. It is called Leading. These chats/interviews with prominent public figures are informative, revealing and fun. Only ten so far, and even if one is not particularly fond of the person being focused, I have found them all to be worth my time investment. [To date; Michael Heseltine, Maria Litvinenko, Alan Milburn, Michel Barnier, Michael Johnson, David Lammy, Fiona Hill, Bertie Ahern and Bernie Sanders.]

While listening to History Hit (check out the podcasts label below to be reminded!) a few weeks back, there was a guest from the Spy Museum in Washington, DC. Dr Andrew Hammond has a good Glasgow accent! Anyway, as curator of the museum, he also runs a podcast called... you guessed it! *click the image to go there.* I have not listened to the entire back catalogue but have been through quite a few. It is easy to pick, as the titling is well representative of the content. If you listen to no other, though, I would point you to two very recent episodes: Ukraine & Intelligence, One Year On, and Espionage and the Metaverse... everyone should listen to that last one. 😬

A few more current affairs/historical pods have been added to my list, but I will leave them for another post; let us now move on to true crime. Not all podcasts are equal (she writes, rather obvious though it be...) As with books, one is attracted by a particular presentation style (authorship). I also like to ensure that the pods selected have sound research and checkable data... no sensationalism or over-theorising (read conspiracism... come to think of it, that applies to every podcast I choose!)

Canadian True Crime has been a good listen. Intriguingly, like Spycast, the creator and presenter is non-native to the host country. In this case, Kristi Lee is an Aussie. She and her family moved to Canada about 14 years back. She clearly has a strong investigative mind and presents the cases as neutrally as possible. 

Australian True Crime is similarly compelling. The two presenters are personable (and just occasionally, a little bit 'ditzy') and, when conducting interviews, know how to ask probing questions but also display deep emotional intelligence.

In fact, if you enjoy the sound of the Australian voice, you could do worse than explore the podcasts of The Australian newspaper. Look, in particular, for those by Hedley Thomas; his investigative reporting has brought justice (ref Teacher's Pet).

What about UK representation? Well, for that, I listen to Scotland Yard Confidential. This one is a Spotify production (through Parcast), so you can only listen to it there. For this, cases are taken directly from SY files and go back to the 1880s and come up as current as the 2000s. They are narrated by John Hopkins, who played Sgt Dan Scott in Midsomer Murders (...go on, hands up!)

Give My Noise a go for something else entirely and wholly interactive. I have pointed you to the Indian tanpura sounds, but you can find others, such as Gregorian voices or Japanese Oase, and you can layer them, change the tones and tempos, and just generally have fun. There is even a guided meditation room. There is much to learn, but even the basic sounds are soothing for background work. For an example of what can be achieved, let me leave you with this bliss...